East Renfrewshire set for Internet speed boost

Internet connection speeds across East Renfrewshire Council’s estate are set to be improved amid “huge” plans which could see £27m invested in the area.

Thursday, 17th June 2021, 1:51 pm
Internet speeds are set to improve in East Renfrewshire
Internet speeds are set to improve in East Renfrewshire

The council’s current wide area network (WAN) is reaching its design limits, with performance issues reported, particularly in schools.

New council-wide high speed fibre infrastructure is planned to replace the current WAN, making the network “fit for the future”.

It would increase the bandwidth tenfold in some venues, including primary schools, libraries, and community centres.

In March, the council agreed to invest £2.7m in its network. Capita, which provides the Scottish Wide Area Network (SWAN) for the country’s public sector, is currently contracted by the council.

Councillors have now approved using the SWAN framework to procure the additional bandwidth, through which Capita will work with CityFibre to provide a full-fibre network.

CityFibre intends to invest up to £27m in a full-fibre network for residents and businesses on the back of the council’s investment.

That could provide 85 per cent of homes and businesses in East Renfrewshire with access to a full fibre network.

Council leader Tony Buchanan said: “This is a huge investment across the area from City Fibre and SWAN and it would make us one of the leading authorities across the UK in terms of connectivity.”

A report presented to the council’s cabinet stated partnering with Capita and CityFibre would deliver a full replacement of the council WAN and an “added benefit” of “securing a substantial proposed inward investment from CityFibre to the sum of circa £27m which will deliver Fibre to the Home capacity throughout the authority covering up to 85% of all homes and businesses”.

“This would be a substantial achievement as the national average is around 50 per cent coverage.

“At current levels, this means that East Renfrewshire would move from being second bottom on the current full fibre availability charts to the top.”

Eaglesham and Uplawmoor make up the 15 per cent shortfall. However, the report added both areas were eligible for full fibre funding under a project, between the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and the Scottish Government, to connect rural areas.

Capita has confirmed both areas are “within their national programme and will obtain the funding required”, it added.